A single huge eye stares from the forehead of this nine-foot-tall giant. Below this sole orb, an even larger mouth gapes like a cave.
Speed 30 ft.
Str 21, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8
Once per day as an immediate action, a cyclops can peer into an occluded visual spectrum of possible futures, gaining insight that allows it to select the exact result of one die roll before the roll is made. This effect can alter an action taken by the cyclops only, and cannot be applied to the rolls of others.
Cyclops Tyrant (Fighter 10; CR 15)
Source Wikimedia Commons
Environment any temperate or tropical
Organization solitary or conclave (2–6) or tribe (7–18)
Treasure standard (hide armor, Large greataxe, Large heavy crossbow, other treasure)
Many thousands of years ago, the solemn cyclopes ruled vast kingdoms, yet today their glories are long forgotten. What few cyclopes survive seldom aspire higher than protecting their lairs and seeking out their next meals. This latter task occupies a great deal of their focus, for the monstrous appetites and vacuous hunger of the cyclopes control the race’s destiny and may have led to their original downfall so long ago.
The average cyclops stands 9 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds. Both males and females are almost completely bald, with stringy patches of dark hair occasionally hanging down from above the ears. A bushy, expressive brow couples with a cyclops’s massive eye to make the creature’s attitude easily known.
Cyclopean history is a vanishing thing inscribed on the crumbling walls of vine-choked lost cities that fell long before even the rise of the elves, when dragons and giants ruled a landscape unspoiled by the petty ephemeral races that rule today. Because things have fallen so far, a given cyclops is less likely to know the near-mythic triumphs of lost ages than even a semi-educated human.
Ancient records, the oral traditions of other giantish races, and the scattered accounts of tribal natives of the southern jungles speak of much larger, more primal “great cyclopes,” imposing titans with shaggy legs and a massive horn above an inquisitive eye. These creatures are thought to have been either the leaders or the war beasts of the ancient race, and modern cyclopes honor them as elusive, destructive living gods.
Cyclopes are most often encountered in small tribes near the ruins of their former empires. Cyclopes are usually degenerate, barbaric shadows of the once-grand race, though it is not unknown to encounter one or more enlightened cyclopes leading conclaves of followers and servants. A cyclops smasher often leads a small group of two to four degenerate cyclopes. These roving bands typically stay close to their communal lairs, but when prey is scarce they may migrate hundreds of miles to more fertile hunting grounds. To feed larger tribes, dedicated parties of two to five cyclops manhunters seek vulnerable humanoid settlements or unguarded livestock. Larger raiding groups can also include up to six standard, degenerate cyclopes.
A typical tribe consists of seven to 18 cyclopes, including a dedicated hunting group, and is often led by a cyclops grand-eye who serves as the chieftain and spiritual leader.
Many tribes’ chieftains are cyclops lorekeepers. In such cases, several grand-eyes may serve as acolytes to the lorekeeper in spiritual matters.
Source Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Giants Revisited
Cyclopes are a venerable race of one-eyed giants with a tragic history and an uncertain future. Once the towering rulers of ancient empires spanning some of the most rugged regions of the world, modern cyclopes are but brutish shadows of their former glory. Many humans know more of cyclopes’ ancient kingdoms than do the one-eyed giants, who despite their supernatural powers of divination are ruled by a festering rage, a painful hunger that scratches and bites at their minds like an unforgiving flea. Their memories all but wiped, cyclopes gaze unendingly upon the vine-choked monoliths and moss-covered glyphs left behind by their ancestors, if only to glean a taste of understanding from secrets that were lost to them long ago. Intermittent moments of sagely clarity spur most cyclopes to continue their pursuits, though most gain nothing more from these fragments of insight than a lucky strike against a foe. Abandoned by their ancestors and lost among a world of more adaptable races, cyclopes have little hope of reclaiming the might and glory that was once theirs, and so they do the only thing that still makes sense to them: they rage.
The average cyclops stands 9 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds. Both genders are virtually hairless, though tufts of dark hair sometimes hang from just above their ears. A single, bushy eyebrow adorns the spot just above a cyclops’s eye, and its extremely expressive nature ensures both friends and foes know when exactly to run from an enraged cyclops.
The visible differences between male and female cyclopes are relatively minute, and most non-cyclopes have a hard time telling the two apart. Both have brawny muscles that bulge from the gender-neutral robes and hides they garb themselves in, and both are equally hateful by nature. Even during pregnancy, female cyclopes remain as toned and brutal as their male companions, some even going so far as to brawl until the moment of birth is upon them. More than one cyclops female has given birth on the battlefield, keeping the newly born giant concealed in nearby bushes or tree branches until she has finished her fight and can tend to the babe properly.
Cyclopes’ young are remarkably hardy, and can walk and talk as soon as 1 year after birth. By 10 years of age, cyclopes are completely self-sufficient and fully functional members of their conclave or tribe. Cyclopes reach sexual maturity between their second to third decades, at which point they choose mates among either their own tribe (but rarely among siblings or other close family members) or an allied tribe of fellow cyclopes. Gestation is similar to that of humans, taking a little less than a year to culminate in a newborn. Cyclopes can live to be nearly 200 years old, though most consider defeat in battle the only honorable way to die, and the social expectation to take on ever-greater foes pushes many cyclops warriors toward an early death.
A given cyclops’s most distinctive feature, of course, is the great solitary eye embedded in the center of his forehead. In surface area, a cyclops eyeball is even larger than two human eyes combined. The optical organ’s massive size and its position on cyclopes’ relatively flat skulls provides a greater peripheral range than most humanoids have, as well as generally keener vision, traits which mostly compensate for the lack of depth perception a single eye entails. Though cyclopes occasionally have a difficult time determining distances between sets of objects and creatures, they possess sharp memories and quickly learn to memorize the size of commonly encountered foes.
All cyclopes possess the supernatural ability to glimpse temporarily into the immediate future. In ages past, this gift of prognostication was much more powerful and aided the soothsayers in the founding of mighty cyclops empires. Now, a cyclops’s all-seeing eye is as much a curse as it is a gift; with it, a cyclops sees visions of glories yet to come but also the suffering and death that have followed its kind throughout the millennia. To view the world through this great eye is enough to drive the unwary mad, and even those who can make use of such an eye as a dangerous relic think twice before consulting its otherworldly divinations.
In addition to common cyclopes, there exists a stronger, even more bestial breed known as great cyclopes. These shaggy brutes lack the rudimentary intelligence and gift of foresight their kin possess, but make up for these shortcomings with their terrifying strength and unpredictable bouts of horrendous rage. Their primitive nature and barbaric ferocity hark back to a simpler time among cyclops-kind, and scholars debate on the exact origins of these degenerate goliaths. Regardless of the exact reasons for the split between cyclopes and great cyclopes, the former know to fear and respect their larger kin, giving such behemoths a wide berth when encountering them in the wild. For their part, great cyclopes—selfish and crude—rarely associate with their weaker brethren or even their own kind, though they are easily swayed by gifts of food and treasure. Primitive or barbaric humanoid tribes often revere great cyclopes as divine beings, forming strange cults to appease the bestial idols. From beast tribes to mystery cults, each practices some variant and all partake in frequent sacrifices of flesh to their one-eyed idols. Even cyclopes have been known to venerate their greater kin, and especially zealous tyrants often lead cults of their own followers and worshipers of smaller races.
For some worshipers, such adoration is all mysticism and superstition, with primitive shamans seeking insights and power from blood, viewing great cyclopes as prophesied destroyers sent from the heavens. For others, such veneration truly does offer revelations into the lost ways and powers of the cyclopes, revealing—and in some rare cases granting a measure of mastery over—those forgotten secrets. Still others merely disguise their own cruelties and ambitions in the cloak of faith, drawing influence and might from false ceremonies and the favor of brutal giants they seek to twist to their will. Whatever their form, cyclops cults all dwell on the mysteries of insight, the future, the heavens, and the symbolic eye.
Although their empires have long fallen to the more fecund races that populate much of the world, cyclopes still remain prominent in some pockets of wilderness. The majority lair in the remote, primeval reaches of the world in small conclaves of six or fewer—though such groups often grow into fully fledged tribes given enough time. Possessing but a shadow of their former ambitions, many cyclopes dwell in primitive caves with rudimentary furnishings and tools, giving nary a thought to the near-mythic triumphs of lost ages, instead content with protecting their lairs and seeking out their next meals. Still, their ever-present gift of clouded prophecy serves as a constant, hazy reminder of what was once theirs and what could be again, though only the wisest among their kind know how to interpret such clouded visions.
While small groups of cyclopes usually share the responsibility of protecting the group and seeing to its needs, tribes and larger confederations of cyclopes tend to construct simple hierarchies. The most common form of ruler among small cyclops societies is the tribal chief, a leader known in some cyclops circles as the tyrant. Individual cyclopes rise to tyranny within their tribes by exhibiting the most strength over weaker creatures, typically in the heat of battle. Cyclopes enjoy taking slaves, and place great value on the individual thralls they accumulate throughout their violent lives. Stealing or eating another cyclops’s slave is the best way to shame a member of a cyclops tribe, though such depredations are also quick to spur intertribal conflicts.
Cyclopes possess only the crudest forms of agriculture when they attempt it at all, usually restricting such menial labor to the herding of easily domesticated animals such as goats and hogs. The insatiable appetite of cyclopes means that whatever animals they choose to raise are typically quick to fatten and quick to breed. One of the oddest creatures to see domestication at the hands of cyclopes is the cockatrice, whose cursed bite makes the notion of breeding the beasts utterly ridiculous to most people. Cyclopes, however, appreciate the magical beasts for the meat they provide and their naturally fecund nature, and even when nipped by a penned cockatrice, cyclopes are quick to use their supernatural foresight to avoid petrification.
Even the most learned of cyclopes know relatively little about their ancestors and the ancient empires that once belonged to their people. Most cyclopes of today are content to protect their lairs and seek out food; they give little thought to ideas such as religion or matters of the spirit, trusting more in their own strength than that of any invisible deity. Regardless of their dim-wittedness compared to their ancient ancestors, the human-level intelligence cyclopes currently possess is proof that they were not always so mean. Those few who aspire to greater deeds typically become tyrants among their kind, often driving their tribes to destructive campaigns of war against nearby settlements. Others choose instead to study the ways of their ancestors, referring to the ancient texts scrawled on cavern walls and amid cyclopean ruins. Most of the time, such amateur cyclops sages can decipher little more from these age-old scripts than any other scholar, though sometimes those who have proven especially sensitive to their ancestors’ voices may be able to glean something substantial from their ponderings.
Cyclopes work best as enigmatic figures of myth and legend, placed in the path of adventurers to distill eldritch knowledge or to lure the PCs toward places of antiquity with the promise of forbidden treasure. They often inhabit ancient ruins and the remains of long-forgotten kingdoms, and so dungeon-delving PCs will likely come into contact with these one-eyed behemoths eventually. To cyclopes, such crumbling markers of history are hallowed sites that serve as windows to the past. Many an adventuring company has scoured the ruins of an ancient civilization in search of lost treasure, but few have paused to ponder the peoples who constructed these crumbling edifices and their unknown purposes. A cyclops encounter serves as a great plot device to introduce PCs to the storied legacy of the ancient world without it feeling like a history lesson. A notable cyclops NPC might appear again and again throughout a campaign, either as a recurring villain or as an agent seeking aid from the PCs, perhaps in the form of retrieving some relics or artifacts pertaining to a cyclops empire’s mysterious past.
Though their intentions may appear benign, at heart most cyclopes are callous creatures who view humanoids as little better than vermin or food. Good cyclopes are few and far between, and in the end, most cyclopes will inevitably betray any adventurers they’ve duped into allying with them, if for no better reason than to secure a tasty meal. Despite their centuries of devolution, cyclopes are cunning predators, and are not above using ambush tactics or dirty tricks to dispose of particularly meddlesome adventurers.
Cyclopes treasure their weapons above all other items, viewing their over-sized greataxes, mauls, and clubs as extensions of their own rage and strength. Magical arms are especially prized, and a cyclops who finds herself in possession of a particularly powerful magic weapon usually rises to great power in her tribe. Cyclopes also place great importance on armor, though shields are regarded as the tools of cowards, and any such armaments found or taken from fallen foes are promptly discarded by most cyclopes.
Lone cyclopes separated from a conclave or tribe typically possess numerous treasures of whatever trespassers have wandered too close to their lairs. Caring little for socially constructed systems of wealth, these reclusive cyclopes instead cherish their belongings only for their aesthetic appeal, having especial reverence for spherical objects like gemstones and magical orbs. Some view these hoarding tendencies as substitution for companionship, though hermitic cyclopes are quick to stamp out anyone who promotes this notion to their faces.
Powerful cyclops seers in particular value magical relics that cure or stifle mental afflictions. Such items help cyclops soothsayers and oracles mitigate the madness that often overcomes them during especially potent trances. Cyclopes also prize potions and other edible or potable magic items, since they both offer arcane boons and sate a measure of their ravenous hunger.
The following list of random treasure includes items one might normally find either on a cyclops’s person or in his dwelling.
|01–04||Large iron medallion (300 gp, 20 lbs.)|
|05–09||Cloth sack of over-sized earrings (100 gp, 5 lbs.)|
|16–20||Small assorted opals (1d4, 450 gp each)|
|21–26||Jawbone of a random animal|
|27–33||Potion of bull’s strength|
|34–36||Elixir of fire breath|
|37–41||Large broken heavy crossbow|
|42–45||Necklace strung with humanoid tongues|
|46–48||Elixir of vision|
|49–54||Worn iron helmet|
|55–59||Set of bone needles and leatherworking tools|
|60–65||Brooch of shielding|
|66–72||Engraved large leather armlets (200 gp, 25 lbs.)|
|76–82||Decorated gourd (55 gp, 4 lbs.)|
|83–87||Dust of dryness|
|88–92||30 feet of rusted chain|
|93–95||Bracers of armor +1|
|96–99||Hunks of scrap metal (100 gp, 50 lbs.)|
|100||+1 hide armor|